National Geographic : 1956 Dec
in the stream bed," the engineer told me. I could only say, "What a terrible death!" "Oh, no," said the engineer. "She sur vived." True. The same woman later served us lunch. She appeared perfectly well-and pretty, too. Valley of Pastoral Peace Below the dam the flow swells into the River Derwent, which tumbles roughly out of the mountains, then levels off to wind through farmlands, passing an occasional village deep in bucolic peace. A mile west of the town of New Norfolk the river skirts the hop fields and apple orchards of the Warner estate (page 803). I stopped here one day to photograph a red brick oast house with a weather-gray shingle roof, and met friendly James Warner and his family. As I look back on my stay among these island folk, Jim Warner personifies the Tas manian attitude toward visitors interested in the little State. He introduced me to high Government officials and humble hop-pickers, eased my way to the roof of a Hobart jam factory to make the picture of Queen Eliza beth II on page 799, and spent a week of his annual vacation traveling with me. To be brief, Jim did everything I asked of him except show me a duck-billed platypus in the wild, and I'll give him full marks for trying to do even that.* Where Hops and Apples Thrive Warner told me that the Derwent Valley grows about 87 percent of Tasmania's total hops production. Green hops look somewhat like Brussels sprouts and grow on 18-foot-tall vines trained on strings stretched from the earth to overhead wires (page 817). Kiln dried hops give beer its characteristic flavor. Since beer is a popular beverage in Australia, the demand keeps farmers hustling. In the Warners' fields I saw whole family units, including babies, turn the work into a happy outing. At noon they stopped to eat picnic lunches among the aromatic vines. As I finished photographing a family group, the daughter came to me and said, "Mummy wants to know when your book's coming out." "Not for a year at least," I said. "Stone the crows!" the mother cried. "We'll all be dead by then!" Jim Warner supervises the hops depart ment of the Warner estate, and his brother Frank manages the apples. Both crops are harvested in March and April, by far the busiest time of the year in the Derwent Val ley. Frank showed me a tree that once yielded better than a ton of apples-between 45 and 50 bushels. For a glimpse of the island's most exten sive orchards, I drove 20 miles southwest of Hobart to the Huon Valley. Orchards border the highway into Huonville, the apple capital; they grow down to the riverbanks and up the hillsides, surround numerous packing sheds, and all but take over the town. * See "Australia's Patchwork Creature, the Platy pus," by Charles H. Holmes, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, August, 1939.